Earlier this year The National Trust released a list of things children should do before they’re 12 to encourage the UK’s ‘cotton wool’ kids to get outside and enjoy a bit of traditional play.
First and foremost on that list was ‘climb a tree’.
Well, my six year old is ALWAYS up a tree. She adores tree climbing. Far too damn high for my liking most of the time, but boy is it her happy place.
I’m never ever allowed to help her down – she works it out for herself, even the most giddying of heights.
Of course there is the safety issue.
She’s six. The tree is HUGE. And dense. And difficult to negotiate.
But as I stand there under that tree with my heart in my mouth, there she is connecting with nature,
strengthening muscles in her body she wouldn’t ordinarily use and yelling from the treetop as she feels that soaring sense of achievement at reaching the summit.
It’s really quite difficult as a mother to sit by and watch, but children need to take risks –
because that is how they will build confidence and an awareness of limits and boundaries.
It’s only in taking risks that they can learn how to be safe.
In short, by climbing trees they are learning how to go out there and be an adult.
Are you OK with your kids taking risks?